Florida school board votes down recognizing LGBTQ+ month

Posted at 2:19 PM, Sep 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-08 14:19:41-04

MIAMI (AP) — The Miami-Dade School Board overwhelming decided against recognizing October as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer History month which included a measure to teach 12th graders about two Supreme Court cases affecting the LGBTQ community.

Parents, teachers and students spoke for more than three hours Wednesday, with one group citing indoctrination of students and the other speaking about how Nazis ostracized gays and lesbians with a pink triangle. The board then voted 8-1 against the measure, which was proffered by board member Lucia Baez Geller.

Outside the school board's headquarters, where people waited to speak during the meeting, a group of Proud Boys got into a loud argument with someone hoisting a trans flag, the Miami Herald reported.

“There is an election year and the anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric is a tool used by some to spread misinformation,” board member Lucia Baez Geller said. “This is just plain disinformation.”

She told the newspaper the measure “is mostly to recognize the dignity and the respect for each other.” She also noted that seniors could opt out of learning about the two Supreme Court cases — Obergefell v. Hodges, which recognizes same-sex marriage, and Bostock v. Clayton County, which says an employer can’t fire someone for being gay or transgender.

Throughout the year, other months are recognized to teach students about history, including Hispanic Heritage, Black history and women's history. October is National LGBT History Month.

Last year, the school board recognized LGBTQ month, but did not include the provision to add the two Supreme Court cases.

The Miami-Dade public school system is the nation's fourth largest, with 331,500 students.

Among those who opposed the measure, some said it went against their religious beliefs while others said the board was abiding in the indoctrination and sexual abuse of children. Some falsely claimed the measure would adopt new curriculum for students to learn about LGBTQ+ issues without parental consent.

Earlier this year, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis championed a law that bans lessons on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade, which critics dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill.

Max Tover, a pastor and parent in the district, led those outside in a prayer, asking that the board members reject the motion. He told the Herald that passing the measure is “a Trojan Horse.”

Maxx Fenning, president and founder of the nonprofit PRISM FL, which provides sexual health information to LGBTQ+ youth, likened opposition to the measure to how Nazis ostracized gay people by making them wear a pink triangle badge to reflect their sexual orientation.

The final vote came around 9:45 p.m. Wednesday, after the board took a one-hour break to hear discussion about the district's budget. Some still in the audience cheered as others sat silently.